Wedding Etiquette Forum

Small wedding, but big reception?

We don't want a very big wedding because we want that to be intimate with only close friends and family. But we would like a reception with everybody. Would that be okay?

Re: Small wedding, but big reception?

  • To do this, it must be immediate family only (siblings, parents, and grandparents). No one else.

    You might still offend if you do immediate family only and then a huge reception, but it would be correct etiquette-wise

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  • not really.  everyone who is invited to the reception should be invited to the ceremony.  The only exception is if you are having a truly private ceremony (parents, siblings, other immediate family) then you can invite others to the reception.  but if you wanted say 50 people at the ceremony and 100 people at the reception that is not ok. 
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  • It is considered very rude to invite some people to the ceremony and others to the reception only. The point of a reception is to thank your guests for coming. By inviting them to the reception only you are telling them that they are good enough to party with and bring a gift, but not good enough to come to the whole point of the event.
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  • No, I think this would be pretty rude.  It's like telling your guests they aren't good enough to see you get married, but they are good enough to party with you and bring you a gift.
    PrettyGirlLostBlue_Bird
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_small-wedding-but-big-reception?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:7de1eb3a-8d97-4321-84f5-85ee1abb2977Post:d8081fcc-a7b0-4852-abbb-570fc60c3ee7">Re: Small wedding, but big reception?</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Small wedding, but big reception? : Ditto Redhead.  Friends is not considered a truly private, immediate family only ceremony.  And then the tiered wedding would be rude. Also, your post just reminded me of it, why do people say 'close friends and family'?  I've never understood that one.  I say family and close friends.  But even so, 'close friends' are not an exception to the rule when it comes to private ceremonies and larger receptions.
    Posted by crfb87[/QUOTE]

    <div>Just out of curiosity (I'm not planning to have a ceremony with fewer people than the reception), but would it be improper etiquette to have a MOH or BM at one of these "intimate" ceremonies?  I'm guessing so since people on here say no friends, just family.</div><div>
    </div><div>I also never considered grandparents to be immediate family, but I can see why people would still insist on including them in this kind of ceremony.</div>

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  • So basically, your larger circle is good enough to buy you a present but not good enough to actually participate in the ceremony for which you're getting said present?

    I know it's technically correct, etiquette-wise, to have a small wedding and a larger reception if you keep the ceremony to immediate family only or totally private, but it seriously rubs me the wrong way.
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  • >>So basically, your larger circle is good enough to buy you a present but not good enough to actually participate in the ceremony for which you're getting said present?

    Yes.
    That exactly.

    I know no one who goes to those gift-collection "receptions."
    My friend's mother insisted on doing this when she got married, and planned for 100 people to attend this fancy dinner cruise.  But only about 30 people showed up, and most of those were wedding party + SO's and immediate family.  No one else went...
    PrettyGirlLostBlue_Bird
  • The reception is the expensive part, so I just don't understand this idea in general except to be gift grabby and send the message that while you want to party with these people, you don't want them present for the main event.
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    PrettyGirlLost
  • This is the etiquette board, so you are getting the correct etiquette answers. But, I am getting married in a few weeks and we are doing a small wedding and a large ceremony. Apparently, it is not correct ettiquette, but so far we have received no negative feedback. We sent out invitations 2 weeks ago and have had 98% yes responses. The 2 people that have been no's were invited to the ceremony and the reception. I may have offended people and they may be talking behind my back, but no one has indicated to me, my finace, or either of our families they are hurt or offended by the invitation.

    ladystanley
  • I am curious, what about a small wedding ceremony now and a large reception celebrating the couple's marriage like a year from now... would that be considered be rude too?
  • I was wondering this same thing! My fiancee and I are in the early stages of planning, and my mother has given her opinion on this. The main reason, personally I feel to do this is so people don't have to sit through the ceremony, and save on money overall, as well as save on headaches of who to invite and not invite to the wedding. I'm not sure about costs for the size of the overall wedding size (guest wise) and if the reception were in a different place and time, say an area that would be less costly to have so many people in. I feel like there is going to be drama regardless of our decision, but I honestly never thought about it in the way of how many presents I would get... 
  • KeptInStitchesKeptInStitches the Northern Plains member
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    Die, zombie thread, die!

    To answer your question, like PP said, I wouldn't recommend it. If you're going to do it, you pretty much only have to invite immediate family (parents, siblings, grandparents) to the ceremony and then invite significantly more people to the reception.
    hayesc1atfindlaydotedu
  • I didn't want to repost if there was a thread about this already, I think immediate family is what we were thinking for the ceremony, and the friends and extended family for the reception...
     Thank you for your input!
  • PrettyGirlLostPrettyGirlLost A Land Filled with Unicorns and Cat Hair member
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    I didn't want to repost if there was a thread about this already, I think immediate family is what we were thinking for the ceremony, and the friends and extended family for the reception...
     Thank you for your input!
    Can I ask why, though?  I mean this as an honest question and with no snark.

    I honestly don't get this trend, if you can call it that.  If you want a small, intimate ceremony, then why would you want a huge reception afterwards with additional people who were not invited to the ceremony?

    If I was invited to the reception, but not to the ceremony, I would be hurt because the ceremony is the important part of the wedding day.  The ceremony puts the Wed in wedding, after all. 

    Personally, the same group of people I would want to share in my wedding ceremony are the same group of people I'd want to party with in celebration afterwards.

    "Love is the one thing we're capable of perceiving that transcends time and space."


  • +misslisa+misslisa member
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    edited August 2013
    I didn't want to repost if there was a thread about this already, I think immediate family is what we were thinking for the ceremony, and the friends and extended family for the reception...
     Thank you for your input!
    Can I ask why, though?  I mean this as an honest question and with no snark.

    I honestly don't get this trend, if you can call it that.  If you want a small, intimate ceremony, then why would you want a huge reception afterwards with additional people who were not invited to the ceremony?

    If I was invited to the reception, but not to the ceremony, I would be hurt because the ceremony is the important part of the wedding day.  The ceremony puts the Wed in wedding, after all. 

    Personally, the same group of people I would want to share in my wedding ceremony are the same group of people I'd want to party with in celebration afterwards.
    One of THE hot wedding locations here has standing-room only for about twenty-five people. No exceptions. Many people who marry there have a big celebration with friends afterward.

    I was under the impression that inviting to the ceremony but not the reception is absolutely verboten, because it's unacceptable to not feed and host the people who came to your event. But I'll be (sheepishly) honest... I didn't realize it wasn't okay to give folks a free meal, booze, and dance the night away after a small wedding ceremony. I figured that inviting to the party was still acceptable. Mea culpa on that one. I appreciate the clarification here.
  • SP29SP29 member
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    The main reason, personally I feel to do this is so people don't have to sit through the ceremony, and save on money overall, as well as save on headaches of who to invite and not invite to the wedding. I'm not sure about costs for the size of the overall wedding size (guest wise) and if the reception were in a different place and time, say an area that would be less costly to have so many people in. I feel like there is going to be drama regardless of our decision, but I honestly never thought about it in the way of how many presents I would get... 
    I don't really see how your explanation solves any of your issues. People not sitting through a ceremony- well that's the whole point of the whole wedding celebration, to see two people getting married. Unless you're having a traditional Catholic ceremony, most ceremonies are what, 20-30mins long. If a guest can't do that, I would be questioning their attendance in general. Saving on money overall- you're still paying for the ceremony site and officiant (I know my ceremony costs the same amount of money regardless of how many guests I have). The reception is the expensive part anyway. Saving on heartaches of who and who not to invite- you'll still have this issue with the reception no? Etiquette wise, anyone invited to the ceremony goes to the reception, and vice versa. It is considered rude to only invite someone to the reception. If you want to find an area/venue for the reception that is less costly, you can still do this. Travel is something to consider, so are gaps, but you can still have the ceremony and reception venues you want. You are your immediate family at the ceremony would be travelling anyway, no? 

    I get what you are saying about the gifts though- when someone asks a question that does not follow etiquette, a lot of poster respond with something along the lines of "oh, so you just want the gifts!"... which I know is not true. Hardly does it ever come down to the gifts. HOWEVER, even if that is not your intention, that is how it may appear to invited guests.

    The one exception to this is a truly private ceremony. I do realize some people are private people and do not feel comfortable with such a large crowd. Also some religions mandate private ceremonies. But if you do a private ceremony is has to be done properly (ie. you, FH, IMMEDIATE family)- basically all or none.

    Good luck in your planning!
  • PrettyGirlLostPrettyGirlLost A Land Filled with Unicorns and Cat Hair member
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    +misslisa said:
    I didn't want to repost if there was a thread about this already, I think immediate family is what we were thinking for the ceremony, and the friends and extended family for the reception...
     Thank you for your input!
    Can I ask why, though?  I mean this as an honest question and with no snark.

    I honestly don't get this trend, if you can call it that.  If you want a small, intimate ceremony, then why would you want a huge reception afterwards with additional people who were not invited to the ceremony?

    If I was invited to the reception, but not to the ceremony, I would be hurt because the ceremony is the important part of the wedding day.  The ceremony puts the Wed in wedding, after all. 

    Personally, the same group of people I would want to share in my wedding ceremony are the same group of people I'd want to party with in celebration afterwards.
    One of THE hot wedding locations here has standing-room only for about twenty-five people. No exceptions. Many people who marry there have a big celebration with friends afterward.

    I was under the impression that inviting to the ceremony but not the reception is absolutely verboten, because it's unacceptable to not feed and host the people who came to your event. But I'll be (sheepishly) honest... I didn't realize it wasn't okay to give folks a free meal, booze, and dance the night away after a small wedding ceremony. I figured that inviting the party was still acceptable. Mea culpa on that one. I appreciate the clarification here.
    Personally, I would never prioritize location over the actual individual people at my wedding.  My friends and family are more important to me than a venue. 

    NOT saying this is what you did, and that's not a judgement on anyone else.  I appreciate your answer- I hadn't considered that aspect.

    What you are doing isn't necessarily against etiquette as far as I understand it.  It sounds like you are planning on hosting a nice reception for everyone.  You just might not have realized that some people are probably going to be a little bummed out to have missed your ceremony.

    "Love is the one thing we're capable of perceiving that transcends time and space."


  • Oh, it isn't what I did, no worries! It's just a popular thing around here.

    (I did worse - I got legally married before an unexpected surgery a month ahead of schedule and will still be having our convalidation on the day we planned, with friends and family in attendance. And I feel suitably crappy about it all, moreso as time goes on, having spent considerable hours on this board in recent weeks. Barf barf. So I'm still a walking faux pas, just in a different way! But enough about me....)
    PrettyGirlLost
  • phiraphira Bahstin member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary 5 Answers
    I went to a wedding where there was no clear start time, and the ceremony was performed on an island in a pond. They had their parents and siblings on the island with them, but they excluded SOs and also had a couple really close friends there. Everyone else who had shown up before the ceremony started (some people showed up during/after because the start time was intentionally unclear) had to just stand and watch from a distance. You couldn't hear anything. It was really awkward and rude.

    Unless you're having JUST immediate family, no friends, then you need to give up the whole, "We want an intimate ceremony!" thing. Either you want your wedding (ceremony AND reception) to be intimate, or you don't. Inviting lots more people to the reception does feel like an insult and gift-grab, even if it's not supposed to be.
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  • I've only known of one situation where that was successful. The bride & groom had their heart set on a specific spot for there ceremony, it was a castle in a park that wouldn't accomodate everyone they wanted to celebrate with. So they had a private ceremony with immediate family (parents, grandparents, siblings & BM & MOH) then had a reception at a different location with the rest of the extended family & their friends.
  • i'm not sure if it's considered proper etiquette, but a distant cousin did something like this when I was in HS.  

    the venue they chose only housed about 20 people, so they chose immediate family, but invited extended to the wedding reception. They had a big projector playing the ceremony at the reception for people who missed it. I thought it was nice.
  • i'm not sure if it's considered proper etiquette, but a distant cousin did something like this when I was in HS.  

    the venue they chose only housed about 20 people, so they chose immediate family, but invited extended to the wedding reception. They had a big projector playing the ceremony at the reception for people who missed it. I thought it was nice.

    Your cousins put their venue over their family and friends. I'd be pissed if my "consolation prize" was a video of the ceremony I wasn't good enough to be invited to.

    I just don't get why people do this. I know its fine from an etiquette stand point but it just doesn't make sense to me. If it's due to stage fright (in a sense) then why have a huge reception? You'll still be on display. If you think getting married is a private thing then just have a tiny wedding. You can celebrate being married at a regular party, it doesn't have to be a reception. Inviting people to a reception only screams gift grabby and selfish to me. If you fall in love with a venue that holds on 20 people, then have a 20 person wedding or get a bigger venue.

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